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HAPPY SAINTS PATRICK'S DAY - The Origin of Irish Coffee March 17 2016

Like FosterHobbs Coffee, the origin of the cocktail, Irish Coffee, has a link to aviation.

It was invented at Foynes, a small town in the West of Ireland, near Limerick, which had the main airport for Flying Boats between America and Europe. By 1940, the airport was abuzz with many American VIP's from the world of politics and Hollywood.

Weather conditions along the West coast of Ireland could change as quick as it took to refuel the planes and many times, flights would have to be cancelled and the passengers would have to spend the night in Foynes.

One winter night, in 1942, a flight left Foynes for Botwood in Newfoundland and then on to New York. After several hours of battling a storm, the pilot decided to turn back to Foynes. A new restaurant there, under the direction of a young Irish Chef, Joe Sheridan, was given heads up of the arriving plane and worked to be ready for the passengers that would be both cold and tired.

Joe Sheridan decided to prepare something special to warm the passengers up. He brewed dark, rich coffee, added in some Irish whiskey, a little brown sugar and floated freshly whipped cream on top of each cup. The story goes that after drinking the concoction an American passenger asked, "Hey Buddy, is this Brazilian coffee?"

"No," said Joe, "that's Irish Coffee."


Cool Down With FosterHobbs Coffee May 19 2015

FosterHobbs Coffee Iced Espresso www.fosterhobbs.com  

It's a perfect afternoon for coffee --- a refreshing cup of Cold Brew or Iced Coffee --- to be exact. People often confuse the terms Cold Brew and Iced Coffee (the same people probably are confused about the true meaning of "espresso" too), but you don't have to.  It's just a matter of knowing the difference between the two, which is basically knowing the difference between their two preparation methods.

The difference between these two rich elixirs is the way you make them. It's understandable why people confuse the term Cold Brew because the term is actually misleading since Cold Brew coffee isn't really brewed. Cold Brew is steeped coffee and no heat source at any time comes into contact with the coffee grinds.  Iced Coffee, on the other hand, is brewed as usual but over ice. Both methods result in a delicious concoction that is easy to prepare and can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home or office.   And, we think these drinks are especially refreshing to drink while on the beach or at the pool.  

Below we share our favorite preparation methods/ recipes so you can experience for yourself what we are talking about --- and you won't have to fork out mega bucks, wait in a long line or waste precious time or gasoline. Order your coffee online today so you can enjoy fresh roasted, specialty grade coffee by the weekend!

 

COLD BREW using fresh roasted FosterHobbs Coffee

What You Need:
One Gallon Pitchers with lid (for steeping)
Two Quart Pitcher with lid (for storing finished product)
8 ounces of coarse ground FosterHobbs Coffee (choose a heavy-bodied origin, such as Guatemalan or Sumatran)
One Gallon of cold filtered water
Sieve
Long handled spoon

What You Do:
-Grind coffee on coarse setting
-Place ground coffee in bottom of pitcher
-Pour half of water in pitcher and stir to evenly soak grinds
-Pour remaining water in pitcher and stir to incorporate all grinds with water
-Place lid on pitcher
-Allow coffee to steep for at least 8 hours (overnight to 24 hours is preferable)
-After coffee has steeped, place sieve atop the two quart pitcher 
-Pour steeped coffee through sieve (sieve will need to be emptied a few times)
-Add filtered water so that the pitcher is completely full; stir gently
-Place coffee in refrigerator and store up to three weeks

Cold Brewed coffee is extremely concentrated and rich.  Some people add more water prior to drinking or serving.  Cold Brew coffee is already sweet, but you can sweeten it more with simple syrup (sugar water) or with your favorite flavored creamer.  We serve our Cold Brew over ice with fresh cream.  We love to see how the thick coffee mingles with the cream.  Mmmm.  Delicious!

Yield:  2 quarts

ICED  COFFEE made with rich and delicious FosterHobbs Coffee in a Chemex Brewer

What You Need:
6 Cup Chemex Coffee Maker and paper filter
60 grams Guatemalan or Sumatran FosterHobbs Coffee
Tray of Large Ice Cubes
500 grams of boiling water
(195º - 205º F)
Digital Scale

What You Do:
-Rinse Chemex filter
-Place ice cubes inside Chemex
-Place filter on Chemex
-Grind Coffee grounds and place in rinsed filter
-Place Chemex on scale and press tare (zeros out weight of coffee maker, etc.)
-Pour small amount of water over grinds and allow to bloom for 30 to 45 sec
-Then pour water over grounds in a circular motion for 20 seconds/allow to drain for 40 sec
-Continue until scale reads 500 grams
-Aim for a 3 to 3 1/2 minute pouring time 
-Pour coffee over ice and enjoy!

Yield:  2- 3 servings

To Make an Iced Latte:
-Place ice in tall glass
-Pour 1 to 2 Tablespoons of simple syrup (sugar water) over ice
-Pour the Iced Coffee (brewed as described above) over the ice
-Complete the latte by pouring in heavy or whipped cream 
-Mmmm!  Delicious!

 

 



 

 

 


BEYOND EARTH ESPRESSO | ESPRESSO MACHINE LAUNCHED FROM CAPE CANAVERAL April 15 2015

ISSpresso Lift Off Image for FHC Blog. Image Credit - NASA / Kim Shiflett

An espresso machine is headed to space!  Aboard the Dragon spacecraft,  the Italian made espresso machine, not resembling any espresso machine on earth but more reminiscent of an Easy Bake Oven or microwave, ISSpresso Image for FHC blog. Image from Phys.Org was aboard SpaceX CRS-6  and was launched yesterday afternoon by a 208-foot Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral  Air Force Station.  The International Space Station (ISS) is the destination for the espresso machine, aptly called the ISSpresso. 

Until now the astronauts of the ISS have had to drink instant coffee.  But now thanks to the joint venture between engineering company Argotec and the Italian Space Agency, the astronauts may be able to enjoy a richer, more authentic coffee using the  Italian made espresso machine manufactured by Lavazza .

 

Although lift-off for the espresso machine was yesterday (Tuesday, April 14, 2015) at 4:10 pm, it has taken several years to design and manufacture a product capable of dispensing a “liquid” for astronauts to drink without making a mess  aboard the space station.  (Think Don Knotts in The Reluctant Astronaut.)

 

The ISSpresso utilizes a capsule system, rather than a full ground system, and will be capable of making not just espresso but coffee and other hot beverages.  In a June 16, 2014 report by Bob Yirka that appeared  on Phys.Org,  Yirka explains, "...the plastic tube that usually conveys hot water inside a normal espresso machine has been replaced by a steel tube, making the unit capable of withstanding very high pressure."  The machine also has been installed with multiple redundant systems  so that it can be used and serviced for many years to come.  The “liquid product” as the coffee was identified by Yirka is dispensed into a plastic bag and the astronauts will sip their espresso through a straw.

 

The ISSpresso machine, going supersonic at one minute ten seconds from lift-off, remains safe aboard the Dragon spacecraft  clearing its first hurdle of main engine cut-off at an altitude of 86 kilometers and a speed of 1.9 kilometers per second and now successfully separated from the SpaceX rocket, it’s heading closer and closer to its destination. 

We anticipate ISSpresso’s safe arrival tomorrow and are eager to hear the astronaut’s feedback after sipping their first espresso in space.  Will it be delicious?  Sure wish it could have been FosterHobbs Coffee Espresso.  Since its flavor, body and aroma have already been declared out of this world by our customers who buy coffee online and at our High Point, NC roastery, we can only imagine what it would be like in space!  

http://fosterhobbs.com/collections/enjoy-coffee/products/espresso

The twenty kilogram espresso machine is part of the two tons of cargo filled with supplies to prepare NASA astronauts and robotic explorers for future missions to MARS.   This is Dragon’s sixth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station. 

SpaceX, owned by TESLA,  is one of two private companies hired by NASA to fly cargo to the International Space Station after the space shuttles were retired.  Updates for this two-day flight to ISS may be watched on NASA TV at http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv .  Join the online conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.

SOURCES:

Yirka, Bob. (June 16, 2014).  Italians to Send ISSpresso Machine to ISS.  Phys.Org. Retrieved from

                http://phys.org/news/2014-06-italians-isspresso-machine-iss.html#inlRlv .

SpaceX Launches NASA Cargo and Research to International Space Station.  NASA.gov (April 14,                     2015).  Retrieved from http://www.nasa.gov/

 

 


The Life Cycle of Your Fresh Coffee Beans | A Look At What It Takes to Grow Them April 01 2015

Coffee is a fruit -- an extremely precious fruit. It takes at least 200 coffee cherries to brew the 50 ounce pot of coffee you 

Two Ripe Cherries -  One With Its Skin Peeled to Expose the Coffee Seeds Surrounded in Their Pulpenjoy each day. (Each cherry contains two coffee beans [seeds].  I measured out how much coffee I would typically use to brew a 50 ounce pot of coffee and counted 411 of our roasted Brazilian Montanha de Diamante beans.) Before these cherished whole coffee beans arrive at FosterHobbs Coffee Roasters in High Point, NC, many hands--skilled and dedicated--planted, pruned, weeded, picked, peeled, washed, dried, hulled and bagged these coffee cherries grown in equatorial countries situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. 

Mike and I deal with beans each day so we’re aware of the intricate preparation that occurs for each bean we roast, bag and sell.  You, on the other hand, appreciate the flavor that perks you up in the morning or soothes you on a rainy afternoon but are perhaps oblivious to the meticulous, pain-staking processes that begin and maintain the life-cycle of the fresh roasted coffee you enjoy (similar, perhaps to the many times I have downed a bag of movie popcorn without realizing that it once waved in the wind on stalks with other future popcorn kernels). 

In honor of Arbor Day 2015 and, more importantly,  to honor and showcase the devotion of the people who ensure that our green beans arrive at our roastery safe and sound, we are sharing with you, our beloved customers and friends, the life cycle of your coffee bean. 

If you are interested in the “preparation” processes that occur before you buy your fresh coffee beans online or at our roastery, read on.

Note: The explanation is slightly generalized because each coffee origin has a different harvest season and utilizes various processing methods, depending on climate and geography. 

For the sake of simplicity, the life cycle of your coffee beans is divided into six different stages:
         Sapling, Flower, Green Cherry, Ripe Cherry, Processed Bean, and Roasted Bean.

Rows and Rows of Young Arabica Trees Growing in the Protective Environment of Nurseries

SAPLING - 

Once the seed is planted and the seedling matures into a sapling, it is nurtured for approximately one year in nurseries to receive ample sunlight and climate protection before being transplanted to the main farm.  Each tree produces approximately 1.1 pounds of coffee per year (Cooper Coffee Company, 2011).  That’s a little more than each of the roasted 12 ounce bags of FosterHobbs Coffee you purchase online or at our roastery.  So, as you can imagine, we are talking about acres and acres and millions of trees being planted and cultivated each year.

 The Millions of Coffee Flowers Resemble a Shroud of Snow.  A Majestic Sight!

FLOWER - 

Coffee is a self-pollinating plant which is produced from a magnificent display of honeysuckle-like blooms. Each year (depending on coffee origin) millions of flowers bloom for a few days, just after the area’s initial heavy rains; then, the flowers whither and fall off the trees.  The flowering is a critical part of the growing cycle since a node will form where each flower bloomed.  From each of these nodes a single coffee cherry, which contains the precious coffee beans that we enjoy each day, will form.

Green coffee cherries receive a drink from the daily rain.

 GREEN COFFEE CHERRY -

Green coffee cherries, developed from each node left by the fallen flower, grow for six to eleven months, depending on the length of the country’s rainy season.  In Costa Rica, for example, where the rainy season lasts for seven months, the green cherries are nourished and nurtured typically by four to six hours of rainfall each day.  (With that much rain, the farmers, as you can imagine, are not just watching the cherries grow, they are busy controlling erosion, managing drainage channels and maintaining roads on the farm, not to mention pruning, weeding, and tending to nursery trees). 

Ripe Arabica cherries, perfect for picking

 RIPE COFFEE CHERRY -

With the end of the rainy season, comes the ripening of the coffee cherries.  The large green cherries will turn either yellow or red, depending on the varietal, and fill with the sweet mucilage (pulp) that surrounds the seed.  Unlike the flowering process, the ripening process is slow and unsteady.  Not all cherries ripen at the same time as you can see in the photo below. 

Unripe and ripe cherries mingle together. Unlike the flowering process, the cherries ripen slowly and not all at once.Particular care must be taken to ensure that only ripe cherries are picked (this noticeably affects the taste of the coffee). Because the cherries are not harvested at one time, each tree can be picked up to five times.  As I am blending the beans, I daily think of the skill and patience of those who pick only the cherries perfect for processing because, to be honest, on some days, I may be tempted to just grab them all and throw them in my bucket.  It has helped me to value the quality of each bean rather than the quantity of them. And while these farmers are being as precise as possible in regard to the particular cherries they are picking, consider the terrain where coffee trees are cultivated.  All specialty grade Arabica cherries (the only grade and variety we roast) grow in trees on mountainsides at higher elevations --underneath the protection of shade trees – NOT on flat, solid land grown in tidy, roomy rows, so picking the cherries is more difficult than harvesting tobacco or sweet potatoes, for example. Needless to say, every FosterHobbs Coffee bag I fill, I  remember to thank the Lord for these beans and for the farmers who cultivated them.

After beans are peeled, sorted and washed, they are spread out to dry on large patios

PROCESSED BEAN -

Once the cherry is picked, it is taken to be processed in a mill where they are selected, sorted, peeled, washed and dried..  There are three processing techniques used by coffee farmers:  wet-processing,  dry-processing and semi-dry processing.  The processing of the coffee cherry is just as important as the picking and maybe more tedious (I liken the process of separating the two beans that are contained in the cherry, surrounded in its sticky pulp, to peeling a grape that would contain two large seeds.)

In the wet-process (washed coffee), the skin and pulp are removed before the fruit is dried.  This process requires specific machinery and a substantial amount of water.  The coffee cherries are immersed in water.  Bad or unripe fruit will float and the good, ripe fruit will sink.  The bad fruit is discarded while the remaining pulp is removed from the coffee bean through microbes in fermentation or scrubbed off with special equipment.  The coffee beans are then dried by the sun on tables or on patios.  The beans are carefully circulated and raked to avoid mildewing or any tainting of the beans’ flavors.  Before being bagged for shipment, the outermost parchment skin of the bean that remains is hulled.

In the dry process (also known as unwashed or natural coffee), the entire cherry is first cleaned and then placed in the sun to dry on tables or in thin layers on patios.  As described with the wet-process, the beans are circulated and carefully raked to avoid mildew and to ensure that the beans dry evenly.  The beans are watched closely because overdrying can cause the beans to become dry and brittle, making them break easily in the final hulling operation. And underdrying can be detrimental too. Beans that are insufficiently dried and bagged are prone to fungal or bacterial attack.

In the semi-dry process, a hybrid process of the two methods previously explained, the outer skin of the coffee cherries are removed mechanically.  The coffee beans, still coated with pulp, are stored for up to a day.  Then the pulp is washed off, leaving the thin parchment skin on the bean and the parchment coffee is partially dried in the sun.  This process is also called wet-hulled or semi-washed process.

No matter what the processing method is used, the Arabica coffee beans go through final cleaning, another sorting and are graded (based on size, color, absence of defects, cup quality, etc.) before being bagged and shipped to FosterHobbs Coffee.  Since we only roast coffee that receives the classification of Specialty Grade (coffee that receives a score of 80 or above are classified as Specialty Grade), we are particularly appreciative of the extra care it takes to produce our beans.

FosterHobbs Coffee Roaster Shows Scoop of Just Roasted Coffee Beans

ROASTED BEAN -

Your coffee is now closer than ever for you to enjoy.  At least it is in the same country.  Once the coffee is delivered and acclimated to our roastery environment, it is roasted in our Ambex small batch drum roaster at temperatures of 418 - 465 degrees Fahrenheit (as roast profiles dictate), depending on the beans' origin, density, moisture level, and processing method.  Roasting is what unlocks the flavor of your beans.  (We immediately start thinking of these beans as yours.  Being a young coffee roasting company we know who you are.  As we grow, we will work to ensure that this attitude never changes.)

All of those years flying, learning and knowing how air and temperature affects performance, has proven an advantage for Mike, specifically, in his approach to roasting.  And, as we daily cup beans to analyze his roasting profiles, I am amazed at how intuitively he gauges chemical reactions of the various beans. (Enough bragging on my husband’s skill. He doesn’t know that I have inserted this section, so please don’t tell him.)

After the coffee bean is roasted, its weight has reduced and its size doubled.  To protect the flavor, body, and aroma of your gourmet coffee beans, we lovingly store, hand-blend and bag them.  We believe, as you now know, that each part of the growing and processing cycle is critical, so we take the same care in the roasting, blending, storing and bagging processes as all the farmers did so that you will enjoy the consistent, exceptional flavor in each cup you drink.

FosterHobbs Coffee Roaster Uses Trowel  to Sample Beans During Roast Every day, we feel honored to be a part of this chain of events that must occur so that you can brew and enjoy specialty grade coffee in the comfort and convenience of your home, office, dorm, hotel, campsite, car, etc. We hope you know that it is our desire to match the devotion of each person that planted, watered, pruned, weeded, hulled, etc. the precious beans that you buy from FosterHobbs Coffee. As you can see, it is a chain of painstakingly meticulous and laborious measures to grow, process and roast coffee and we don’t take any of it for granted.  It is our hope that you taste the difference of our devotion, as well as the devotion of all those who handled the gourmet coffee beans prior to us.  We thank you for the opportunity to serve you! Enjoy! 

SOURCES:
Hacienda La Minita "A Costa Rican Farm," Rao, Scott "The Coffee Roaster's Companion," Robinson, Matt "The Coffee Lover's Handbook" 

 

 

 


Waking Up Can Be the Best Part of Christmas Morn December 18 2014

This Christmas, give the gift of waking up all warm and cozy with a deliciously aromatic FosterHobbs Coffee pour-over brew.  

Years ago Mike’s quest for the perfect cup of coffee meant bags of beans in his suitcase, which he would open up like a Christmas gift, and unwrap for me by scooping the beans in a grinder and freshly grinding them.  The aroma of the beans being ground was just the beginning.  Then one day our automatic Bunn coffee maker died and Mike brought out a pour-over brewer (coffee dripper) that he had been meaning to try.  That day we discovered that brewing coffee using the pour-over method made the entire kitchen smell glorious.  And when we started brewing fresh roasted coffee, the wonderful aroma intensified. 

Today, even though we are endlessly roasting, blending and bagging beans , the aroma and taste of fresh brewed coffee never fails to ignite a warm and comfortable feeling in us.  To borrow a sentiment of a classic coffee commercial, enjoying our fresh brewed pour-over coffee each morning is definitely one of the best parts of waking up.

Don’t you think your loved ones would like to wake up on Christmas morning in the same way?

 

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:

Pour-Over brewer atop your favorite mug

#4 Cone filter

FosterHobbs Coffee whole beans (2 tablespoons)

Fresh, filtered boiling water (16 ounces, not including water for rinsing filter)

 

HERE'S WHAT YOU DO:

1.  Assemble Brewer/Mug – Place the brewer over your favorite mug.
2.  Rinse the filter – Place the filter in your pour-over brewer to reduce the paper taste. This will also    
     pre-heat your brewer and mug. Discard water.  
3.  Add coffee – Grind the FosterHobbs Coffee beans and spoon into rinsed filter.
3.  Thirty Second Bloom – Pour just boiled water gently over the grounds and allow to bloom for thirty  
     seconds.
4.  Complete Brew – Pour remaining amount of water

5.  Share with your loved ones and enjoy the Christmas morn!

 

IT'S EASY AS ONE, TWO, THREE!

 1. RINSE FILTER                               2.  ADD FRESH GROUNDS  3.  BLOOM FOR 30 SECONDS
                                                                                                              and COMPLETE BREWING

 


CHRISTMAS SHIPPING DEADLINE December 08 2014

GIVE OUR CHRISTMAS BLEND THIS YEAR!
FosterHobbs Coffee for Christmas -- a unique and delectable gift because we select only specialty grade Arabica coffee beans, the best grade and the best variety, and roast them to order so that your gift is delivered just-roasted fresh!

Brazilian Pour-Over Instructions November 25 2014

 

B R A Z I L –
Region: Bahia – Mountains of Espirito Santo
Altitude: 1000-1200 meters
Processing: Fully washed
Cupping highlights: Full of body and rich with flavors of cashew and maple.
My personal notes: This is Mike’s favorite coffee! And a favorite for outdoorsmen/women!

A BETTER BREW TO BRAVE THE BITTER COLD
Brewing method: Manual Drip Using a Porcelain Pour-Over Brewer

18 grams – FosterHobbs Coffee fresh-roasted whole beans from Brazil
16 ounces – Fresh, filtered water (for both rinsing filter and brewing)
Drizzle of honey

1. Place #4 cone filter in porcelain brewer
2. Heat water to boil.
3. Drip-grind coffee beans.
4. Run a few ounces of hot water over the filter to rinse and remove unwanted “paper” taste. Discard
     this water.
5. Place grinds in the rinsed filter.
6. Pre-wet the grinds for thirty seconds with a minimal amount of the hot water. Aim for the middle of
     your cone filter, pouring directly onto the grinds and avoiding the edges of the filter.
7. After thirty seconds, begin pouring hot water over grinds in a circular, even motion.   Do not pour the
     water over the edge of the filter. Allow the coffee to drain a bit. Stopping and starting several times
     during the process is best and allows for adequate coverage of the grinds. The entire infusion process
     will range from three to four minutes.
8. Pour coffee into stainless steel travel mug, drizzle in some honey, stir ---and you’re on your way to
     meet some ducks or hit the hiking trails!

 


Colombian Chemex Recipe - Thanksgiving Spice and Everything Nice! November 23 2014


THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, EXPERIMENT WITH BREWING TECHNIQUES AND ENJOY YOUR COFFEE!

 

Okay, I am not going to knock instant potatoes or packaged gravy. I know that there are people who do not enjoy cooking or who do not have the time to prepare food so these are necessary alternatives. But if you really, really enjoy mashed potatoes and gravy, you will use real ingredients and take the time to learn how to prepare them properly.

It is the same thing with enjoying coffee. If you really want to taste coffee the way it is supposed to be enjoyed, you will start with fresh roasted coffee beans. And you will experiment with various brewing methods and coffee origins. And in your quest for perfecting what you pour in your mug, I think you will find that you really enjoy the time you take to prepare the coffee. It can become a soothing and enjoyable hobby.

To get you started, I have included a few basic recipes. Try them and then venture out and make up your own recipes. And when you find one that you really, really, really enjoy --- please share it with me! I look forward to hearing from you!

The recipes below are arranged according to coffee origin.

 

AMERICAS - C O L O M B I A -

Region: Jardin in Antioquia Department


Altitude: 1400-1500 meters


Processing: Fully washed


Cupping highlights: Clean and sweet, with a softened acidity and medium body. Flavors of cocoa and caramel mingle with hints of

tropical fruit.


My personal notes: First, I LOVE the aroma of this coffee. I choose this coffee when I need to brighten my spirit. Its aroma is

intoxicating and never fails to relieve me of my bad mood.

  

THANKSGIVING SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE!


Brewing method: Manual Drip Using a Chemex Brewer

50 grams – FosterHobbs Coffee fresh-roasted whole beans from Colombia


34 ounces – Fresh, filtered water (for both rinsing filter and brewing)


Torani Signature Vanilla Syrup


Sugar in the Raw (natural cane turbinado sugar)


Nutmeg


Cinnamon

  1. Line Chemex with natural filter square (see picture). The section with the three sides goes over the spout (or runnel).
  2. Heat water to a boil.
  3. Drip-grind coffee beans.
  4. Rinse the filter square by pouring approximately two ounces of the hot water over the filter. Dispose of water (filter will stay in place).
  5. Pour the ground coffee in the filter, making a small divot in the center. Pre-wet the grinds by pouring a small amount of the hot water over them.   Allow to bloom for thirty to forty-five seconds.
  6. Begin pouring one third of hot water in a steady, circular stream over the grinds, working from the center to the outer edge (avoid touching filter) and back to the center.
  7. Continue pouring the remaining water over the coffee, keeping the water level above the grinds (so that they are not exposed to air).
  8. After all the coffee is drained into the carafe, remove the filter and discard. Aerate the coffee by swirling the brew prior to pouring. This is necessary to mix the stronger coffee extracted at first with the weaker coffee brewed at the end.
  9. Pour coffee into mug that has already been prepared with one teaspoon of Torani Signature Vanilla Syrup, one packet of Sugar in the Raw, a dash of nutmeg, and a dash of cinnamon.
  10. Stir and E-N-J-O-Y!

Just the beginning... October 25 2014

I spent many layovers in the United Kingdom while flying for American Airlines. It was one of my favorite places to visit. As an owner of MG’s, I also have an interest in British cars. In addition, my wife and I enjoy watching BBC television programming. Obviously, I have a natural interest in most anything British.

Likewise, I am passionate about modern worship music. When our children were in high school, my wife and I observed the power of God's Word communicated through this type of music and were convinced that this was something we wanted to support in their lives.

Then, our family had the pleasure of working as staff members on the KLove Family and Friends Music Cruise in the Caribbean. There were approximately twenty different top Christian artists (bands) performing on the cruise, including Chris Tomlin and David Crowder. They were performing day and night it seems. It was hard to miss them. It even made an impression with crew members on the ship. Seventy-five crew members from around the world requested a copy of the Holy Bible. The ship’s captain said this had never happened before. Christian music was the catalyst for getting Bibles into the hands of many people worldwide. (Since then I have made an effort to provide a supply of Bibles on that cruise—a privilege for me.)

Pursuing these two interests, anything British and Modern Worship Music, led me to the discovery that many Christian artists from the states did very little or no touring in Great Britain.

In America, it seems we have an endless number of Christian FM radio stations that are owned by many companies. As expensive as they may be, this allows for approximately 1,800 Christian FM radio stations across the US. Having a vast number of stations also affords many opportunities for Christian artists with plenty of over-the-air play time.

After a bit of research, I found that in Great Britain much of the radio station ownership is through the government (i.e. BBC). This type of ownership has limited the number of Christian FM radio stations to only eight in all of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This in turn limits the amount of over-the-air play time for artists from America which makes touring less likely. This obviously has an impact on those artists from the UK as well.

Suddenly I realized why this bothered me. The limiting effect on over-the-air play time has made it especially difficult for many American CCM/modern worship music artists to deliver His message to Great Britain’s teens and young adults. Since that point of discovery, I have been on a mission to fill this gap. Perhaps it is worth knowing that the UK is making progress with a relatively new digital radio system DAB. However, audio quality is lower than on FM and currently only 26.5% of their radio listening is through this digital platform.

Today, thankfully, some popular artists from the states such as Chris Tomlin, TobyMac, Casting Crowns, Amy Grant, Newsboys, Michael W. Smith are being heard in the UK. Unfortunately, we have many other artists with extremely powerful messages that are relatively unknown to the young people in the UK because of the radio issue (gap) mentioned above. Incidentally, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, and Martin Smith, amazing contemporary Christian and modern worship music artists, are from (or live) in the UK. My hope is that together, the UK and America, can take this type of music to an even higher level to reach more young people, in both countries.

I am often asked “Why the UK?” Some would say “They hosted the Olympics. They are not in need.” I had a supporter of my initiative answer it best. “Sometimes we get caught up trying to help countries that are Third World because we believe it has the most need, but that doesn’t mean we forget the communities that are looked upon to be less needy.” Needy in this case has to do with the continued decline of Christian statistics in America and the UK, especially among the young people—the future of our churches.

As I began developing ideas for filling this gap, I quickly realized that in order to have a noticeable impact, this initiative was going to require some serious funding…

Sensing the Lord had other plans for me, I left the highly coveted captain seat at American Airlines which meant that I had to seriously seek God’s wisdom regarding how to fund this initiative. Looking back it is easy to see that He has been preparing me for this journey from the very beginning.

After all the many layovers researching coffee and cafes I thought that I would someday have a coffee shop of my own. As it turns out, God’s plan was for me to be on the roasting side of the business. My mission is to help fund the organization, FILL THE GAP CONCERTS TM. I am excited about this journey and will follow His lead to fill the gap wherever the Gospel needs to be preached.

By enjoying FosterHobbs Coffee, you, too, are filling the gap! Thank you for being a part of this journey with me!